Over the past several months, several long-time Self-Storage Talk (SST) members have been handed a pink slip. One was let go after the owner decided to run the self-storage property on his own. Another was simply told his time with the company was over. And one couple was told they weren’t meeting the owner’s expectations. These are but a few examples of the shake-ups we’ve read about on SST lately.
No matter the reason, being displaced from a job is traumatic. Most of us have been downsized, replaced or simply forced out of a position at one time or another. Once the initial shock wears off, there’s often a “what now?” moment. How will I pay my bills? Who will hire me? Will I have to move to another city or state? What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? It’s a collision course of questions and anxiety.
For some, there’s also a silver-lining factor. In the case of the couple above, the dismissal came as a complete shock, but they had also been unhappy with the company. As they moved through the process, they hoped the firing would somehow become a “blessing in disguise.”
Regardless of how it all goes down, it’s imperative you dust yourself off and move forward. So, what’s the first step to finding new employment? Of course, updating your résumé is a must, but you should also think strategically when it comes to your job search.
One idea is to create a file of your work history. This would include your up-to-date résumé as well as a list of current and verifiable references including contact names and phone numbers. It should also contain anything noteworthy, such as awards, certificates of accommodation or praising letters.
Be sure to create a document that includes your accomplishments as well. Did you reduce delinquencies over a set time? Or perhaps you were the point person for a large renovation. Did you successfully oversee a rental-rate increase? All of these should be noted in your work-history file in an easy-to-use format so you can reference them later during an interview or while writing a cover letter.
Once you have the paperwork in order, it’s time to start looking for the perfect position. While there are a number of avenues to this, your best bet is networking. Who do you already know? Think about your many interactions with customers, co-workers, industry members, contractors and other business professionals. Are you a member of the chamber of commerce? Do you belong to a place of worship or community club? Do you have a LinkedIn account? Keep your eyes and ears open as you never know when a great opportunity will present itself.
For example, the couple mentioned above found new employment within three weeks of being let go via networking. Some friends passed their name to a former employer, who just happened to be looking for managers for an RV resort. You just never know where a connection might lead!
While there’s no way to ever fully protect yourself from a layoff or termination, you can take some steps to minimize the damage. First, be clear about your job duties and expectations. If you’re not sure what’s expected of you, how can you properly do your job? Also, keep tabs on your achievements as they happen. It’s easier to write down specifically how you raised rental rates by 5 percent during the first quarter of 2017 than remember the details six months later.
Second, always be networking. What if the owner decides to sell the property and the new operator brings in his own staff? Plus, you might be perfectly content with your position today, but what about tomorrow? What if you desire to move to another city, state or even country? Your network is a gateway to new opportunities.
Finally, be bold. What do you envision yourself doing? Being terminated from a position can be an opportunity to examine where you are in life and what you hope to accomplish. Fortunately, as self-storage manager you’ve amassed skills that can apply to a number of careers. Think about what you can offer your next employer, then take that confidence and find your dream job.
What advice would you offer someone seeking new employment? Add a comment below or join the discussion on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s biggest online community.